Black public intellectuals who critique leftism get no attention from the leftist media. They are therefore unknown to much of the general public. This is a shame because they contribute greatly to the conversation on race in America. Many oppose critical race theory and the slogan “diversity, equity, and inclusion” (DEI). Here is a selection of wise words from black sages on these and related topics:
I am a former university professor who for many years has been warning people about Critical Race Theory and its impact on our society. As a professor of both political science and law, I have watched CRT metastasize like a cancer on college and university campuses … Universities are no longer the marketplaces of ideas they once were. I fear for my country now that CRT has migrated from college campuses to society-at-large.
– Carol Swain in Carol M. Swain & Christopher J. Schorr, Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory Is Burning Down the House (Brentwood: Be the People Books, 2021), 1.
It’s [“The hegemony of critical race theory”] a catastrophe. It’s like the cultural revolution—I mean, small-c, small-r. … I’m talking about China. I’m talking about struggle sessions. I’m talking about people being led out with dunce caps on and being put in the corner and ridiculed because they’re not with what the party says is the right ideological interpretation of whatever political economic development there is … a kind of orgy of finger pointing and witch-huntery … burning the apostates at the stake, enduring a Twitter mob when you have a public relations-sensitive business profile. That’s not quite being burned at the stake, but it’s definitely a bad thing to happen to you.
– Glenn Loury, “Critical race theory’s rising hegemony,” YouTube, February 2, 2021.
The average impact of corporate diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) training is zero and some evidence suggests that the impact can become negative if the training is mandated… Our intuition for how to decrease race and gender disparities in the workplace has failed us for decades. It’s time to stop guessing and start using the scientific method.
– Roland Fryer, “It’s time for data-first diversity, equity, and inclusion,” Fortune, June 20, 2022.
Let me be clear about one thing up front: I think critical race theory is nonsense. Most of its proponents insist that all black people are perpetually oppressed victims, and all white people are our oppressors. This does nothing to move the black community, or our country, forward.
– Robert L. Woodson, Sr., “A Better Way to Fight Critical Race Theory,” National Review, July 23, 2021.
[E]quity as equality of outcome rather than equality of opportunity—has become the unspoken real meaning for many of today’s educators, especially in the ever-lucrative industry of diversity, equity, and inclusion consulting.
– Ian V. Rowe, Agency: The Four Point Plan (F.R.E.E.) for ALL Children to Overcome the Victimhood Narrative and Discover Their Pathway to Power (West Conshohocken: Templeton Press, 2022), 59.
Critical race theory is bogus. To me as a minority, [it’s] demeaning, dehumanizing … But it is a currency with which whites can buy innocence in the marketplace. It’s a currency with which Blacks and other minorities can exercise power in the political arena.
– Shelby Steele, quoted in the Orlando Sentinel, June 3, 2021.
Today, as in the past, diversity is essentially a fancy word for group quotas. It is one of a number of wholly subjective criteria — such as “leadership” — used to admit students to colleges and universities according to their group membership, rather than according to their individual qualifications.
– Thomas Sowell, “The ‘Diversity’ Fraud,” Capitalism Magazine, August 25, 2020.
I have to think that many of the people nominally endorsing him [Ibram X. Kendi] are too smart not to notice how strange and simplistic and totalitarian his worldview is, but they’re afraid to say it because the culture of American elite spaces right now has cemented a taboo against criticizing any idea that successfully brands itself as anti-racist.
– Coleman Hughes, “Ibram X. Kendi Turned Down My Offer,” YouTube, March 3, 2021.
Racial preferences should now be thought of like chemotherapy, a cure that can cause side effects that should be applied judiciously. We’ve applied the cure long past that point, and have drifted toward an almost liturgical conception of diversity that makes less sense by the year.
– John McWhorter, “Stop Making Asian Americans Pay the Price for Campus Diversity,” New York Times, September 23, 2022.
There is growing pressure now to do away with SATs, GPAs and now even any shared conception of Standard English. What kind of world are we creating? In what way could this utter condescension possibly render a historically oppressed people suddenly equal?
– Thomas Chatterton Williams, Twitter, July 22, 2020.
Once leftists have gained power, as they have in most of our colleges and universities, free speech becomes a liability. It challenges their ideas and agenda and must be suppressed.
– Walter E. Williams, “The Fight for Free Speech,” syndicated, October 6 2020.
I submit to you that systemic racism is not the problem and critical race theory and reparations are not the answer.
– Larry Elder, Fox News, 28 September 2021.
It may resemble a serious academic discipline, but it’s really just a fancy argument for racial preferences.
– Jason Riley, “Critical Race Theory Is a Hustle,” Wall Street Journal, July 13, 2021.
To simply eliminate the tests as ‘racist’ because black students underperform on them is an anti-intellectual and even destructive idea.
– John McWhorter, Common Sense, April 28, 2021.
[I]f he [Ibram X. Kendi] was in the habit of engaging with alternative viewpoints, with folks like John McWhorter, Glenn Loury, or Thomas Chatterton Williams—really anybody—then I wouldn’t have made such a big deal of this, but he doesn’t engage with any criticism of his views, which is a cardinal sin if you’re claiming to be a serious thinker.
– Coleman Hughes, “Ibram X. Kendi Turned Down My Offer,” YouTube, March 3, 2021.
DiAngelo’s [Robin DiAngelo, author of White Fragility] picture of the ideal relationship between whites and blacks bears a disturbing resemblance to the relationship between an exasperated parent and a spoiled child: the one constantly practicing emotional self-control, the other triggered by the smallest things and helplessly expressing every emotion as soon as it comes. These are the roles she expects — even encourages — whites and blacks to play. That people can call this anti-racist with a straight face shows how far language has strayed from reality.
– Coleman Hughes, “Sermon for whites to wash away ‘Original Sin’ is misguided gospel of anti-racism,” New York Post, November 30, 2020.
Critical Race Theory poses an existential threat to the United States. It strikes at the very foundations of American society, undermining American unity and common purpose.
– Carol M. Swain & Christopher J. Schorr, Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory Is Burning Down the House (Brentwood: Be the People Books, 2021), 21.
Classical liberalism is a philosophy that promotes protecting civil liberties and limiting the role of government. It is fundamental to American democracy; CRT, however, strongly rejects this tradition … Critical Race Theory is anti-American in the same way that the sky is blue and water is wet.
– Carol M. Swain & Christopher J. Schorr, Black Eye for America: How Critical Race Theory Is Burning Down the House (Brentwood: Be the People Books, 2021), 30–31.
What I have seen from the diversity, equity and inclusion programs have been almost always a very divisive type of approach that results in accentuating rather than decreasing racial and ethnic tension …
– Carol Swain, quoted in the Tennessee Star, November 24, 2020.
Image: Adobe Stock
5 thoughts on “Black Sages on DEI”
Another noted Black intellectual worth reading is John Sibley Butler (formerly of the University of Texas, now retired). He’s been writing on race in America for decades, including contributing essays alongside McWhorter and others in a superb recent book, “Red, White, and Black: Rescuing American History From Revisionists and Race Hustlers.”
An excellent recent example of JSB’s work (neatly taking down the whole “systemic racism” thesis) is available online and is really worth reading:
It’s classic JSB analysis, which combines a Sowell-like approach with JSB’s use of data.
I first met JSB at UT in 1979, when he was brought in as a panelist in my Plan II freshman seminar course for a debate over Arthur Jensen’s race & IQ theses. (While hashing out that subject was an excellent educational exercise (it forced you to THINK, which back then was the whole point), such a debate on most campuses today would unfortunately be unthinkable.) I was blown away how JSB calmly dissected the question into its logical sociological components and then blew his opponent away with data on each of them. Later, I was fortunate to be able to study under him (and decades later he brought me in as a guest lecturer in his classes).
Brilliant…in some cases, certainly. Incisive, yes. Rational, clear, logic-driven, reality-centric. All these things and more, yes! What these individuals say is true.
But how sad and pathetic it is / we are / to believe that the color of the speakers’ skin somehow lends their insights added gravitas & meaning. It doesn’t; it can’t. It’s all kinds of wrong to believe and behave as though it should. “Gosh, look at this, even Black People say Stupid is Stupid!” How ridiculous…how racist to believe such nonsense!
Prof. Klein tells us, “Black public intellectuals who critique leftism get no attention from the leftist media… This is a shame because they contribute greatly to the conversation on race in America.” And though this is true, it’s equally true for White public intellectuals …and Brown public intellectuals….and Green….and Chartreuse and Purple public intellectuals. ANYONE, in fact, who critiques Progressivism….Leftism… the Woke Cultural Revolution (say hello to the New Red Guard)…call it what you will…receives either (in best case) NO attention or, more typically (let us ask Prof. Murray, et al) only horrible, vindictive, hateful, jeering & cancelling attention intended to drive them from the Public Square.
It’s not the skin color of these speakers which silences their voices; it’s the content of their speech and the quality of their thought which places them (and all who share that same rational perspective) beyond the media veil.
It is long past time we must move past this perverted fascination with the race, color, ethnicity, sex, height, weight, and shoe size of those who have something to say. All that stuff is meaningless. The fact that a Black woman tells us that Critical Race Theory is cancerous is no more surprising than a White woman telling us the exact same thing. The strength of the argument and the quality of the evidence brought to bear is what matters, not the amount of melanin in their skin…not their genital configuration….not whether or not they like turkey at Thanksgiving. And just as we should not elevate and celebrate Black commentary on Race because Black…nor should we denigrate & dismiss White commentary because White.
Skin Color does not make one Blind; nor does it grant Ultra Super Hero Vision. It does not make any one of us either a genius or a fool. Skin color, when it comes to our ability to think our way out of a wet paper bag….to see & solve a problem….to discern the Truth (capital ‘T’), is only….and can only ever be…a big, fat nothingburger. And it shouldn’t take a genius to figure that out.
I have to admit I find it quite amusing that admissions departments are having a really, really hard time deciding who to admit. Eliminate SAT scores because they’re racist. Ditto with GPAs. Now all they have to go on is the letters of recommendation and club memberships while in high school. There are no objective standards left to determine if a student is truly academically qualified. All for the sake of equity and diversity and inclusion.
Well, you can only go down that path so long before reality hits. Keep lowering those standards to get more students of color in the student body. Eventually you have no students capable of succeeding in STEM or business or some other rigorous degree program, Those programs wither away. You are left with students only capable of entering pseudo-academic degree programs like womens studies or black studies.
And then, you can no longer call yourself an institution of higher learning because the pseudo-academic fields produce no learning.
That appears to be the trajectory.
And, of course, this inexorably will leads to more Maitland Jones situations . . . .
When you get classes of STEM students who won’t or can’t do the hard work required to master difficult subjects like organic chemistry, differential equations, thermodynamics, etc., the DEI solution is to fire professors who insist that students actually have to know the material to pass. And once it’s clear to students that you don’t have to actually do the work to pass, the spiral of mediocrity deepens.
At one time, the Sorbonne was regarded at one of the leading universities in the world.
After the inmates took over the asylum in the 1960’s, it’s been regarded as mediocre at best. That’s where the American academy is headed . . . education, scholarship, and actual research are no longer the point, and are replaced with social engineering and indoctrination, with DEI the new religion of the campus.
Meanwhile, STEM schools in Asia are actually insisting on results from their students. It doesn’t take a futurist to see where that is going to lead.